The holidays are just around the corner, and with those chilly days comes the ritual of getting that space heater out of storage and installing the fireplace tools back on the hearth.
But recognizing the dangers of these heat sources shouldn’t be overlooked, and local fire departments say Tempe and Chandler residents should pay attention to the rules of safe winterizing, including having a mental checklist of what to do before you leave home—even if only for a few minutes.
Here’s the list:
Make sure the protective linings in the fireplace, ducts and chimney are clean and in good condition.
Have the fireplace checked and cleaned by a Chimney Safety Institute of America-certified chimney sweep.
Keep the top of chimneys clear of tree limbs and debris by installing a chimney cap.
Always open the damper before lighting the fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool.
When starting the fire, choose well-seasoned wood that has been dried for at least six months and stored properly.
Place firewood or logs in the back of the fireplace on a sturdy grate.
Read the instructions on artificial logs and follow them carefully. Never add an artificial log to a natural wood fire that is already burning. Wait at least two hours before adding an artificial log to a natural log fire because it could cause a flare-up.
Never use gasoline, a charcoal lighter or other fuel to light or relight a fire as the vapors could explode.
Never keep flammable fuels near a fire.
Do not use coal or charcoal in a fireplace because of the danger of carbon monoxide.
Do not burn trash or gift wrap in the fireplace because certain plastics, foam rubber and other coated materials can cause deadly fumes.
Always use a screen around the fireplace to keep sparks from flying out.
Keep items such as carpets, pillows, furniture or papers away from fireplaces and space heaters.
Always make sure that the fire is completely out or a space heater is turned off before going to bed or when leaving the house.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions in installing, operating, and maintaining your heating appliance.
If you are going to utilize any natural fuel burning, propane and/or natural gas appliance in your home an operating carbon monoxide detector is recommended.
—Courtesy of Tempe Fire Department